Healthcare e-Compendium

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Microplastics Found In Human Blood: New Study

Author: Medical Team(Alniche Life Sciences)


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According to a Dutch study published in the Environment International journal, Microplastics were discovered in nearly 80% of blood samples from 22 healthy individuals

As per study, PET plastic, which is frequently used in bottles, was found in half of the blood samples, while polystyrene, which is widely used in disposable food containers and other products, was found in more than a third of the blood samples.

Methodology, Analysis and Result of the study

The current work focused on the development of analytical methods and the measurement of human blood to identify and quantify the mass of five high-volume polymers used in plastic materials: poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), polypropylene (PP), and products incorporating PMMA, polypropylene (PP), materials containing polymerized styrene (PS), polyethylene (PE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Using double shot pyrolysis - gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS), the analytical approach developed, validated, and implemented here evaluates individual polymer mass concentrations in the sample (not particle counts). The thermal degradation products of the plastic particles contained in the samples are quantified using this semi-quantitative approach (i.e. a destructive analysis).

Four high production volume polymers applied in plastic were identified and quantified for the first time in blood. Polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene and polymers of styrene (a sum parameter of polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, acetonitrile butadiene styrene etc.) were the most widely encountered, followed by poly (methyl methacrylate).

This study's quality-controlled measurements of plastic particles as mass concentrations in blood using Py-GC/MS give a unique dataset that supports the concept that human exposure to plastic particles causes particle absorption into the bloodstream. This indicates that at least some of the plastic particles humans come in contact with can be bioavailable and that the rate of elimination via e.g. the biliary tract, kidney or transfer to and deposition in organs is slower than the rate of absorption into the blood.

Way Forward

This study is a way forward in examining the presence of microplastic in plasma and its effect in the accumulation in the body specifically immune system.



Leslie, H. A., van Velzen, M. J., Brandsma, S. H., Vethaak, A. D., Garcia-Vallejo, J. J., & Lamoree, M. H. (2022). Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood. Environment International, 163, 107199.